A women's group formed post-lockdown at Deeplish Community Centre in Rochdale.
The group meets weekly to socialise and the centre has provided gentle exercise and health education sessions. Cartwheel Arts were asked to provide some Art for Wellbeing sessions with the group.
We did a taster day to consult with the group and found a rich history of working with textiles and so designed a project to explore some processes with the group. Group members are of South Asian heritage and most had worked with textiles as a pastime before moving to Rochdale to take up employment in the textiles industry. From around the 1950's onwards the textile mills of the North offered less skill-dependent job opportunities for South Asian migrants at the time.
The group spoke about the stark differences of working with textiles in the UK, most working long hours from home and isolated from their communities.
We submitted pieces to be exhibited online for International Women's Day (hosted by Mcr Sew Social). They are a vibrant celebration of block printing, bringing a new life to textiles as a social and therapeutic craft within the group. These prints are the first stage of many as we explored hand stitching, applique and layered prints throughout the project to create individual works and a collaborative piece we plan to exhibit later in the year. The group are working with artist Rehala Khan and Emotional Support Worker Salma Khalid.